Figures Underline ‘Lifeline’ Air Ambulance Service For Scilly

Shirley Graham with son, Ethan

Shirley Graham with son, Ethan

One out of every sixteen missions flown by Cornwall Air Ambulance last year was to the Isles of Scilly.

The figures underline the critical nature of the lifeline service provided by the medical charity.

Of the 44 trips made to the islands by the helicopter, 38 were to St Mary’s and 6 were to help patients on Tresco.

That’s eight fewer flights to the Scillies than the previous year but on four occasions the air ambulance was called to the islands twice on the same day.

59% of the incidents were medical emergencies, including seven cardiac, six abdominal and five neurological illnesses as well as a newborn baby suffering from jaundice.

And a further 25% of the missions were to aid people who had suffered serious injuries in falls, sporting incidents and road traffic collisions.

Five patients sustained severe head and neck injuries and four badly injured their legs.

The sporting accidents included a visitor who injured his head after falling three metres while kiteboarding and a resident who became ill while diving and was taken to a specialist unit at Derriford Hospital.

One islander has been thankful of the Air Ambulance service not once but three times.

St Mary’s-based Police Community Support Officer Shirley Graham was first helped when she broke her ankle and then again when her appendix burst.

And when her son Ethan was five years old, he also had to be evacuated for severe appendicitis.

Shirley said: “To say that Cornwall Air Ambulance is valuable is an understatement. It is a lifeline. The air ambulance is a Godsend.

“The paramedic crew were great and I can’t praise their service enough. They are heroes. I can’t put into words what the residents of the Scillies feel about the air ambulance. We see it fly over the islands every day, if not more. I simply don’t know what we would do without it.”

Cornwall Air Ambulance costs £3 million every year to operate.

It gets no direct government funding and the charity relies on the generosity of the people and businesses of Cornwall.

Paula Martin, the chief executive officer of Cornwall Air Ambulance, said: “It takes Cornwall Air Ambulance an average of just 28 minutes to reach a patient on the Isles of Scilly. It is thanks to our generous and loyal supporters on the islands and elsewhere around the county, and indeed country, that we can help people in their hour of need.”

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